Riley fired, POST apologetics

Ding dong the witch is dead? Not in this fairy tale. In this one, the name of the game is hydra. Chop off one head, another racist is born.

As was hoped, Naomi Schaefer Riley was dismissed from her engagement with the Chronicle of Higher Education due to all of the reasons mentioned in my previous post and the outpouring of reader response to the editors, on the boards and their individual blogs on the CHE website. Victory for an active readership.

In her response, Liz McMillen tells us:

We’ve heard you, and we have taken to heart what you said.

We now agree that Ms. Riley’s blog posting did not meet The Chronicle’s basic editorial standards for reporting and fairness in opinion articles. As a result, we have asked Ms. Riley to leave the Brainstorm blog.

Whew! She goes further, responding directly to one of our chief complaints:

In addition, my Editor’s Note last week inviting you to debate the posting also seemed to elevate it to the level of informed opinion, which it was not. I also realize that, as the controversy unfolded last week, our response on Twitter did not accurately convey The Chronicle’s message.

Though, this sort of stinks of saying that we gave the CHE too much bad publicity  with our loud, insistent complaints and not an admission of bad decision making. I’ll take what I can get, though.  NSR will no longer write for the paper and I’m sure this will work out for her, too. I suspect there is a blog or commentator position for her in the very near future. One in which she will be free to express as many unsubstantiated opinions as she sees fit without the onus of proof, logic or reasoning.

Covering the Zola-esque débacle, Abby Schachter of the Post (always a supremely trusted news source around the world), writes not one, but two reductive articles on the event.   I’d quote her directly, but it is entirely too painful, much like a hastily written composition 101 paper (and that’s about how we should treat these things). So, I’ll summarize that in article one, she accuses us of silencing legitimate criticism in the holy wrapper of racism accusations. In article two, she asserts that NSR was engaged in serious debate and the result was the journal firing her. She says: “And this is supposed to be the premier journal on higher education in America? What a joke. ”   Oh,  it’s not quite Bovary level irony, but it’ll do.

So, Ms Schachter, I assign your paper a C-, both versions. Praise: You’ve done well in choosing a currently trending topic that has links to a ‘bigger picture’.  Problem: You’ve left out all of the salient details from one side of the argument in favor of an apology of racist journalism.  Solution: By structuring your argument with a basic thesis/antithesis, you will surely have a stronger case to make.

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About ChrisB

Sinner is a humanities doctoral student in a large, overbearing city who should be writing his dissertation, or grading 90 papers, or grading 90 essays, or meeting with students, or reading productively, or reflecting diligently on productive reading. He finds the world complex yet in no way mysterious. He wishes people learned what came before so what comes now would be less baffling and more apparent. He is disgruntled, tired, enthusiastic, dedicated. In a word: he's an academic puppy. View all posts by ChrisB

2 responses to “Riley fired, POST apologetics

  • dailychicana

    I agree with your commentary. As bad as Riley’s post was, I was more irritated by CHE’s johnny-come-lately “apology” to something they never should have published in the first place. A colleague summarized the response as follows: “Unfortunately, there was really no other way out of this, but we will come to regret the censoring of this entitled white woman.” Ugh.

    • Sinner

      I’m starting to think your colleague is right. The mainstream news is getting hold of it and it’s not ‘looking’ quite the way I thought it would. I watched some old interview with her on youtube recently and after hearing the way she argues as well as which genre of fact she glosses over, I suspect she’ll have more to say about academia as a whole.

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